Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mary Oliver: "Straight Talk from Fox"

Listen says fox it is music to run
  over the hills to lick
dew from the leaves to nose along
  the edges of the ponds to smell the fat
ducks in their bright feathers but
  far out, safe in their rafts of
sleep. It is like
  music to visit the orchard, to find
the vole sucking the sweet of the apple, or the
  rabbit with his fast-beating heart. Death itself
is a music. Nobody has ever come close to
  writing it down, awake or in a dream. It cannot
be told. It is flesh and bones
  changing shape and with good cause, mercy
is a little child beside such an invention. It is
  music to wander the black back roads
outside of town no one awake or wondering
  if anything miraculous is ever going to
happen, totally dumb to the fact of every
  moment's miracle. Don't think I haven't
peeked into windows. I see you in all your seasons
  making love, arguing, talking about God
as if he were an idea instead of the grass,
  instead of the stars, the rabbit caught
in one good teeth-whacking hit and brought
  home to the den. What I am, and I know it, is
responsible, joyful, thankful. I would not
  give my life for a thousand of yours.

"Straight Talk from Fox" by Mary Oliver, from Red Bird: Poems (Beacon Press, 2008).

Art credit: "Fox in the Snow," by unknown photographer, from Wallfon.


  1. I love this poem; posted it on our poetry page "One Breath Poets" on Facebook. And, the photograph is just a miracle.

    1. Thanks for sharing the poem, Lorna. And yes, isn't the photo wonderful? The photo had a great eye, and great luck.

  2. Is there a volume of Mary Oliver poems that has the "fox" poems in it?

    1. The volume is listed right after the poem. :) It's in her book RED BIRD. Best wishes!


Thank you for participating respectfully in this blog's community of readers.